The president of the powerful National Association of Realtors has resigned, two days after The New York Times published an article detailing complaints from women that he exhibited a pattern of behavior that included improper touching and sending lewd photos and texts.
Multiple women said that they had been harassed or subjected to inappropriate conduct by the group’s president, Kenny Parcell, in response to interviews, a lawsuit and an internal report. Mr. Parcell, 50, denied the accusations in written responses to The Times.
N.A.R. confirmed Mr. Parcell’s resignation, which was reported on Monday by Inman, an actual estate news site.
Mr. Parcell was a successful Realtor in Utah who rose through the ranks of the nonprofit organization and held several senior leadership positions before taking up its top role. His one-year term as president was not scheduled to finish until November. Mr. Parcell’s lawyer didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment, but Mr. Parcell continued to disclaim the accusations at the same time as he stepped down.
”My resignation comes after a series of accusations against me which are categorically false,” he wrote in a letter to N.A.R.’s executive committee and board of directors. “I’m deeply troubled by those seeking to tarnish my character and mischaracterize my well-intended actions.”
In an email statement, a representative for N.A.R. said that Tracy Kasper, who was the president-elect, will start her presidency immediately, taking on Mr. Parcell’s position.
“We recognize there may be plenty of concern, anger and disappointment,” Ms. Kasper said in a memo to N.A.R. members, “and we wish to acknowledge the individuals who have come forward and shared their stories and people of you who’ve shared your perspective over the past few days. Our commitment to our staff and our members is unwavering, and we are going to proceed to boost the best way we foster a welcoming, secure and respectful workplace.”
The nonprofit, based in Chicago, has greater than $1 billion in assets and owns the trademark to the word “Realtor.” It dominates the American real estate industry with 1.5 million dues-paying members, making it the biggest skilled organization within the country.
Calls for Mr. Parcell’s resignation got here after The Times published the article on Saturday. The next day, Jason Haber, an actual estate agent with Compass, began a Change.org petition demanding that Mr. Parcell resign.
“When I looked online, I expected to see real estate boards and real estate brokerages coming out with statements not only saying they were disturbed by the actions, but condemning them and calling for change — and there was nothing,” Mr. Haber said, explaining why he began the petition. “I reached out to representatives for speakers at their upcoming conferences, asking them to withdraw their speaking slots. We were putting lots of pressure on the organization.”
Complaints about Mr. Parcell began to surface after Janelle Brevard, a former worker who said she had had a consensual relationship with Mr. Parcell, sued the group for racial and sexual discrimination and harassment.
Ms. Brevard, who’s Black, handled the group’s podcasts and videos and far of its marketing materials from 2019 to 2022. She said that after their relationship ended she was excluded from meetings and business trips and that Mr. Parcell, who’s white, threatened to have her fired, in response to her lawsuit.
Ms. Brevard was fired in September 2022, just a few months after their relationship ended. She was certainly one of 4 women who provided complaints about Mr. Parcell’s behavior to an independent investigator hired to look into accusations of sexual harassment on the organization, and the just one to lose her job. The other three women, her lawsuit said, are white. She withdrew her lawsuit in early July after negotiating a settlement with N.A.R.
Jennifer Braun, N.A.R.’s senior events producer, filed an internal report back to the human resources department about two encounters with Mr. Parcell. She told The Times that at a 2018 conference in Washington Mr. Parcell placed his hands down his own pants when he asked her to assist him fix his shirt. On one other occasion, he simulated ejaculation and told her that one other colleague was masturbating in his room, she said.
In a separate accusation, an N.A.R. executive sent a memo to a senior vice chairman, saying she had turn into aware of two employees who had described an “inappropriate invitation” to spend the night at Mr. Parcell’s Utah home. He also sent them photographs of his crotch, which the manager shared with the senior vice chairman, in response to the memo. The Times reviewed the pictures.
Mr. Parcell has denied all the accusations.
Within the organization and its affiliates, 29 employees and former leaders told The Times that N.A.R. leaders didn’t adequately address a culture of bad behavior, despite complaints of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation by Mr. Parcell and other leaders.
Mr. Parcell’s resignation “is a primary step,” said Mr. Haber, who has been organizing for change with others within the industry. “The toxic environment that existed at N.A.R. was in place before Kenny Parcell was president, which suggests it should be that way after he leaves. So this isn’t the top — that is the start of our work.”